Discover Elephant Riding - Luang Prabang
Traveling, sometimes, is not just about the destination but also the journey on how to get there. Normally, most people would want to hop on a local vehicle – like a tuk-tuk or jeepney – to experience the daily lives of the natives, or choose to share their adventures with a friend in either a private car or tour. Any means of travel brings a different kind of experience, but in the city of Luang Prabang, Laos, they have come up with a way to let visitors immerse themselves in the lush and thick vegetation of their forests, while gracefully being carried upon an elephant’s back.
Elephant riding is a popular method of travel, for those who just want to explore Laos’ natural beauty. There are numerous establishments that do offer this service, and each one of them may bring visitors to a different location of the city. Most however, do send travelers deep within the forest of Luang Prabang and end the trip with either a relaxing trek to a river or cool waterfall. Other establishments do not necessarily offer elephant riding, but they do let visitors spend time with this amazing creature – letting them create a beautiful bond between man and beast. Some places also allow their guests to stay in special lodges overnight in order to be surrounded by the presence of the elephants throughout their visit.
Yes, riding on an elephant’s back sounds thrilling, but Trip Guru would like to advise potential riders to choose their packages wisely. It is known that some elephant riding businesses mistreat their animals by letting them wear uncomfortable and/or heavy harnesses, or hit them when they make a mistake. If you believe that that the establishment is raising too many red flags, please leave the premises and look elsewhere.
To get to the heart of Luang Prabang from the airport is quite simple. About 30 meters outside the airport’s gate you will see stationed tuk-tuks and songthaews ready to take in some passengers. Hop on to any of these vehicles and head towards the city. The usual cost for the journey is about 10,000 LAK.
What our experts tell about this experience.
Elephant riding was always a 50/50 for me, but I found out that there are a lot of humane elephant riding establishments available – all you have to do is look around. The one I got from Laos was pretty okay. They were nice to the elephants, but the harness was a bit uncomfortable for my taste.